Mama’s kitchen

The small Italian trattoria Cucina Tamar has authentic rural, rustic appeal.

Italian trattoria Cucina Tamar 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Italian trattoria Cucina Tamar 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Tamar Cohen-Tzedek opened her restaurant on the ruins of her former Vince and Tamar place two years ago. Located in the midst of many old car garages and workshops, not the obvious location for a rustic Italian trattoria, Cucina Tamar kept popping up in friends’ conversations as a place we “must go to some time.” We had been meaning to go there all winter but finally got to visit the small Italian restaurant last month on a very rainy night.
As we entered, we were immediately drawn to the wooden upper deck and chose to climb up there, making believe that we were somewhere in the hills of our favorite Emilia-Romagna region in Italy.
Cucina Tamar is decorated very much like a small country place, complete with knick-knacks, potted plants and candles. The menu, accordingly, is entitled “Menu Tradizionale.”
We started with the chestnut soup (NIS 35) that was on a special winter menu and will no doubt be replaced on the spring-summer menu. It was just the right start for us, as we were wet and cold. Across the table from me, my companion decided to select what is considered the restaurant’s flagship dish, the Tartuffo ravioli with ricotta cheese and Parmesan, which was very good in a rustic Italian way, served with a lovely light brown coat of truffle butter with thin slivers of the black mushroom. The pasta was cooked al dente, as it should be. The filling a little too rustic for my taste, but my companion loved it.
For the main course, I had the beef and chestnut casserole (NIS 82), which was rich and satisfying, cooked with lots of root vegetables and herbs, and tasted as if it were made in some very good cook’s home kitchen. I actually couldn’t finish it but got help from across the table.
My counterpart couldn’t resist the lamb osso bucco (NIS 115), the alltime Italian county-style favorite: slow-cooked lamb shanks, which was prepared just right. The meat literally fell off the bone but wasn’t dry, the aromas of the herbs and white wine were felt but not overpowering and, again, the dish was cooked in a manner that was true to its origins.
As very often happens to us, we were too full for dessert, but a portion of the local tiramisu was ordered nonetheless after a long discussion with the waitress, who promised us that it was one of the best in town. It was good, very good.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Cucina Tamar, 10 Hatzfira St., Tel Aviv. Not kosher